Starting a new journey alone is never easy, but Kei Takebuchi, a Japanese singer-songwriter took the solo road and is now achieving heights. THE MAGIC RAIN had the utmost pleasure of interviewing her back in AniManGaki 2019 which was held on the 31st August and 1st September.
Previously known as one of the vocalists in GooseHouse, she is now making her name in the industry with her solo debut. With a successful first tour ‘Keynote’ and encore show ‘Overtone’, she’s taking 2019 by storm!
Let’s see what this beautiful singer had to say in our interview with her. Watch the full interview or read the transcript below!
Disclaimer: Answers may be edited for clarity of reading and comprehension.
Interviewer: Please introduce yourselves.
Kei: I’m Kei Takebuchi, a singer-songwriter from Japan, who used to be in GooseHouse, but I quit last year in November and went solo, and this is the second time for me to perform overseas as a soloist. [Yamo] is the keyboardist for my performances. At the same time, he films everything and edits all my videos.
Yamo: So that kind of explains me. We’re creative partners and we’re a team.
Interviewer: How has Malaysia been so far for you?
Kei: Great! Everyone’s been really welcoming. They took us to places like KL tower, a mini zoo, and a mosque. It was a great experience. We got to go inside a mosque, and as it was my first time going into a mosque, it was quite amazing.
The vibe of the people in Malaysia and the audience is really great and the weather is good too. Even though it’s the monsoon season and it rains sometimes. The climate and weather is really good, unlike Japan; it is too hot there. I’m having a great time here.
Interviewer: What do you think about our culture or food?
Kei: The food we had was roti tisu and curry on the first day and it was really spicy. To be honest, I’m not good with spicy food but it was really good. We want to try durian too. We haven’t tried it yet but we definitely have to try that.
About Malaysian culture, we were in Indonesia two weeks ago and we thought that it was a country of diversity and unity. In that way Malaysia is kind of similar, because of all the languages, religions and races are mixed here. But I feel a little difference between Indonesia and Malaysia.
Malaysian people are more curious? I’m not too sure how to say it, but people are really aggressive? Or upbeat? In a sense where they are really willing to get to know about everything.
Like yesterday’s performance, many in the crowd were my fans, but I think that quite a number of people within the crowd were not my fans actually. They were wandering around and heard me sing, then stopped by to watch. I could feel that they were really curious about me and that made me happy about new fans.
Interviewer: What was the major event that brought you to play music or to become a professional artist?
Kei: I always loved singing from the moment I was born. The first time I heard Utada Hikaru’s first album “First Love”, her voice and the music she created really shook me. I was 7 or 8 when I first heard her album and that really changed my mindset. At that time, I thought “I really want to be a singer.”
Interviewer: Was it scary coming out as a soloist, after being in a group for a long time? Tell us – how did you face your fears if you had any, and how did you manage to pull through in the end?
Kei: I was really scared and insecure when I decided to go solo, because I thought that a couple of fans, the GooseHouse fans, would be mad at me. I thought they would want GooseHouse to continue existing, so I was scared that maybe people wouldn’t support my solo career.
However, it turned out that after I announced that I was going solo, so many fans from all around the world were cheering for me and were saying that, “I was actually waiting for you to go solo”, and those comments really gave me the power and energy to keep on going. So I’m really grateful for the fans.
Interviewer: In your opinion, what’s the difference between performing solo and performing as a group?
Kei: There’s not much of a difference, because it’s still myself. As a member of GooseHouse, and as a soloist, it’s still the same me. But because there were seven people in the group, when we spoke, seven people would speak, so there’s not much time for me to speak out and send my message to the people. Now that I’m solo, I can speak for myself as an individual and deeper with the fans, so I like it this way better.
Interviewer: Since you’re going solo, what are your plans?
Kei: We have so many things on our minds on what to do. We’re actually making a new video and we’re going to upload it the day after tomorrow or that day after. We constantly plan to make great videos and upload them on YouTube, but at the same time we are making new songs and recording it, and we are actually ready to release them.
I don’t know if you were at the performance last night but we recorded the audience’s voices and we are actually going to include them into our track right now. We have already recorded more than 5000 people’s voices inside the track so it’s really intense, and last night the Malaysian fans’ voices were actually the final piece of the track so that really concludes it.
Interviewer: This was your first time performing in Malaysia, what did you think about the crowd and would you like to come back again?
Kei: Yes, I would! I definitely want to come back. The Malaysian crowd was just amazing, you know. They were all singing along with me, I could see that they were all having fun and that really encouraged me. I did not expect that many people, to be honest, because it was my first time in Malaysia and I did not recognize this many fans in Malaysia. So, getting the chance to see them with my own eyes was a great experience.
Interviewer: How frequent do you get gigs to perform overseas?
Kei: Just these two, Indonesia and Malaysia, so we hope we can go overseas more.
Yamo: We accept invitations and are open to any.
Kei: When we get invitations, we really consider it, and we really want to go to more cities and countries.
Interviewer: Do you have any plans to collaborate with anyone internationally?
Kei: I would love to, if I had the opportunity to. I don’t have any names in particular. Maybe some guitarist from, let’s say, Malaysia, a drummer from Indonesia and we gather together to make music. That would be great.
Interviewer: This is a question for the both of you, since you both create music together. Do you ever come across writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Yamo: We have not gotten into any writer’s block yet. We have so many musical ideas that we want to put into shape and it is more about having the time to do it. So, we’re looking forward to putting out many more songs.
Kei: Not much because there is always something going on in my mind and all the fans, those messages from the fans, gives me inspiration everyday.
Yamo: From my perspective of watching Kei, I think she is inspired in every journey that she is taking right now as a solo artist so I don’t think she will run into any writer’s block as long as she continues on her journey.
Interviewer: What was the hardest or most pleasant moment in your music career?
Kei: The most pleasant moment would be, that moment when I get on the stage and see the crowd cheering for me, getting to see them person-to-person with my own eyes. Those are always the best moments of my career, every time. The hardest moment in my career was when I had to make the decision to go solo, and the process of making that decision.
Interviewer: When I heard your latest single, ‘In This Blanket’, for the first time, I literally fell in love. What was the inspiration behind it?
Kei: First, I was thinking about when I was little, like in elementary school or kindergarten, to find trust in people and to love someone was not that hard when I was little. But as you grow up, it gets harder and harder to trust in people and to love someone because we are afraid to lose something, but I think that it’s kind of the same with everyone.
We’re all trying our best and we’re all working hard. I just wanted to send this message to everyone that you are just good the way you are, you don’t have to try harder, you’re trying already. I wanted to send that message to the people and to myself too, so yes, that was the inspiration.
Interviewer: You mentioned the meaning behind your tour name “Keynote” before in your YouTube channel, but for the sake of your new fans, could you explain the meaning behind the title and the relevance to you as a singer?
Kei: Keynote is the title of the tour. The meaning of Keynote is the basic idea and most important message, or when something starts off. I myself started off as a solo singer, so we thought it was a great idea if we put that as the title. This is my presentation for you guys. This is the message that I want to bring to you. Actually, we had these encore or additional shows and the title of those shows was “Overtone”.
Yamo: The meaning of Overtone is, musically, when there is an A note, it is a four hundred and forty hertz, and above that there will be an 880. That’s an overtone, and then there’s more like 1000, 1600… Usually what we’re hearing is a combination of a keynote and an overtone.
Kei: We wanted to include the meaning of overtone as expanding this circle more and more out into the world, inviting more and more people from all countries and all religions into this circle. That’s pretty much the meaning of this title. The will of expanding this project out into this world.
Interviewer: Also congratulations on your first solo tour. I heard it was really successful and it even sold out. How did it feel like when you first went on tour?
Kei: I was pretty scared because I thought that people wouldn’t come to the show, but to my surprise it sold out really fast. We got to do an encore show and that was really amazing, knowing that there are many fans waiting for me to do live shows.
It always gives me power and energy knowing that there are many fans waiting for me on the first solo tour after I quit the group. It really gave me power and it was just great and amazing.
Interviewer: Will you still do covers on your YouTube Channel?
Kei: Yes! I want to, and we want to. We actually uploaded a cover video of “Moshimo Mata Itsuka”, an Indonesian song translated into Japanese. It’s a cover of Ariel Noah and people liked it, I think. Mostly the Indonesian people liked it so we really try to do covers on a global scale, not just Japanese songs, but Malaysian songs maybe and international songs. We want to keep doing that.
Interviewer: So is that the direction for your YouTube channel?
Kei: Well no, mainly I want to upload original songs of course, but at the same time, once in three months or two months we will upload cover videos too. Just both going on at the same time.
Interviewer: Last but not least, what would you like to say to your fans in Malaysia?
Kei: Thank you for waiting for me all these years, because some of the fans have known me for eight or nine years now because that was when we started off as a group. They waited for me for eight and a half years and then we finally got to meet them. It was really amazing looking at the crowd from the stage, and everyone singing along with me. They looked so happy and I was so happy to see them happy.
I get many messages from Malaysia on the YouTube comments and messages on Instagram, and those words really encourages me to keep on going and keep on singing, because there are fans who are waiting for me here in Malaysia. It really keeps me going so just thank you and I really love you guys. I really wish to come back again.
With that, we’d like to thank Kei Takebuchi and her creative partner, Yamo for the interview! We wish her all the best in her future endeavour and hope to see her career flourish. We hope to see her back in Malaysia one day, maybe this time as a full concert!
Can’t get enough of her? Find her on other social media platforms: